NTSPP – 337 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 337

NTSPP – 337

A Puzzle by Prolixic

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

It seems a while since we last had a Prolixic puzzle on a Saturday afternoon, this one is the usual mix of entertainment and education, not to mention his usual inclusion of a ‘lady of the night’!


1a           Crafter‘s absolutely right to keep a bit of linen (7)
QUILTER  Another way of saying absolutely and R (right) keep a ‘bit’ of Linen


5a           Drew attention to first half of prayer by Mark (7)
SPOTLIT  A mark and the first half of a  six letter prayer of supplication.

9a           Landlord maybe an expert about Welsh capital (5)
OWNER  An expert goes about the ‘capital’ of Welsh.

10a         Point to cross over part of theatre (5,4)
STAGE DOOR  A point followed by a reversal (over) of a cross found at the entrance to a chancel in a church.

11a         Aborts war on disorganised form of transport (6,5)
NARROW BOATS  An anagram (disorganised) of ABORTS WAR ON
narrow boats

12a         Very large star (3)
SOL  Another way of saying very followed by an abbreviation for Large to be found in Collins dictionary but not the BRB gives us the sun personified.

13a         Amount of earth left in shed (5)
SPILT  L (left) is put in the amount of earth equal to the depth of a spade

14a         Some French agents getting papers back went their separate ways (9)
DISPERSED  The French work for some, an abbreviated word for agents and some identity papers all reversed (back)

16a         Lay down with ho cavorting in a careless manner (3,3,3)
ANY OLD HOW  An anagram (cavorting) of LAY DOWN and HO

20a         Leave   emergency shutdown of reactor (5)
SCRAM  An imperative verb telling you to leave or to shut down a nuclear reactor, especially in an emergency.

21a         I don’t know powerless fool (3)
ASS   Remove the P (power less) from something a Mastermind contestant might say if they didn’t know the answer

23a         Letters Arab composed to intimidate (5-6)
SABRE-RATTLE  Military bluster intended to intimidate is obtained from an anagram (composed) of LETTERS ARAB.  I know this picture doesn’t exactly illustrate the solution but it was the most intriguing of the offerings on Google Images!

sabre rattle

25a         Annoyed Irish father figure embracing educated lady (9)
IRRITATED  The abbreviation for Irish, an Irish ‘father figure’ in a sitcom, ‘embracing’ the lady educated in the film comedy written by Willy Russell 

26d         Head of media dismissed from classic car magazine? (5)
ORGAN  A means of communicating opinions such as a magazine is obtained by removing the ‘head’ of Media from a particular marque of classic car.


27a         Make use of old story line broken by paper (7)
EXPLOIT  The two letters used to indicate old or former, and a story line ‘broken’ by the single letter title of a newspaper now only available in a digital version, although at the time the clue was written, you could still buy a newsprint version.

28a         Destroys adepts of four letter words?! (7)
EFFACES  Split 3,4 this word meaning destroys could describe experienced users of four letter words.


1              Hunt for meat substitute (5)
QUORN  One of the country’s original hunts is also the name of a company making meat substitute products

2d           In Nice try criminal from a deprived area (5,4)
INNER CITY  An anagram (criminal) of IN NICE TRY

3d           Forcibly eject topless hooligan at the end of racing (4,3)
TURF OUT   A ‘topless’ hooligan goes at the end of a word used here to mean horse-racing or the race-course itself.

4d           Film magnate’s final word in wine and beer (7)
ROSEBUD  The last word of Charles Foster Kane, the millionaire film and newspaper tycoon is obtained by taking some of my favourite pink wine and following it with the abbreviated way people refer to a particular brand of American-style pale lager (beer)

5d           Luddites pinching endless vehicles Beetles (7)
SCARABS  Remove the end of some vehicles and insert the remaining vehicle into the abbreviation for some discontented workers  who deliberately or maliciously damage machinery just like the Luddites in the 1800s.


6d           Disregard uprising during chimpanzees revolution (7)
OVERSEE  Hidden (during) and reversed (uprising) in chimpanzEES REVOlution

7d           Machines producing toilet paper – quite the reverse (5)
LOOMS  Quite the reverse indicates that the machines here don’t produce toilet paper but combining an informal term for toilet with an abbreviation for manuscript (paper) will produce some machines!

8d           Hero regularly disrupts bombastic Benedictine’s description of slavery in America (9)
THRALLDOM The ‘regular’ letters of HeRo disrupt a word meaning inflated (bombastic, especially in the sense of a story) the result then followed by the abbreviation given to a member of the Benedictine order.

13d         Retsina mixed with a special source of flavouring (4,5)
STAR ANISE  An anagram (mixed) of RETSINA with A (from the clue) and S (special)
star anise

15d         Key bridge player quits rolling cigarettes (9)
STRATEGIC  Remove the abbreviation for one of the players in a game of bridge from CIGARETTES and an anagram (rolling) of the remaining letters will give you the adjective meaning key.

17d         Lease house around South African country (7)
LESOTHO A verb meaning to lease and the abbreviation for house go around a less-common abbreviation for south.

18d         Physical environment in community store (7)
HABITAT  Triple definitions, the third one being a store started by Terence Conran.

19d         Persuade to go round Spain to capture duke (7)
WHEEDLE A verb meaning to go round on an axis ‘captures’ the abbreviation for Duke, the result then followed by the IVR code for Spain.

20d         Water carrier has food prepared (7)
SHADOOF  One of the highlights of a visit to the Science Museum when I was at school was to have a go at the model of this Egyptian device for raising water, together with the model Archimedes Screw.  I wonder if they are still there?   The water carrier here can be obtained from an anagram (prepared) of HAS FOOD

22d         Belt one leaves Persian official (5)
STRAP   Remove the first A (one leaves) from a viceroy or governor of an ancient Persian province.

24d         Birds seen in wilderness (5)
ERNES  Seen in the wildERNESs

27 comments on “NTSPP – 337

  1. I found this extremely tricky in places, but as always with a Prolixic puzzle, it was immensely entertaining. A couple of clues are proving determinedly stubborn to parse, so I’ll come back to those later. The right hand side posed more problems than the left for this solver.

    Both 20 clues (across and down) held me up as I wasn’t aware of one of the definitions going across, and the answer going down was entirely new. If the puzzle wasn’t drafted in the past week, then the wordplay for 2d is spookily prescient.

    My ticks went to 1a, 25a, 26a, 28a, 1d, and my favourite 4d for its clever construction. My only reservation concerned “luddites” in 5d, I’ve never encountered it before having that particular meaning.

    Many thanks, Prolixic, a tough but very rewarding challenge!

    1. Luddites is actually an accurate description of people who used shoes to jam machines. The origin had nothing to do with interfering with foxhunts.

      1. Yes, totally agree with that BD. I was struggling to have “luddites” equating to blacklegs or strike-breakers however. My mistake!

      2. As I might say to a certain person whose name begins with a B, a visit to the BRB does confirm the link with the Luddites.

    2. a pity i think, when endlessly just removes a plural… but i can see why it was done.

  2. Many thanks Prolixic

    Not an easy puzzle, with a few new words I had to look up or check the meaning (8d, 2d, 20d!, 1d)

    I have yet to parse 20a and 18d, will keep thinking. I’m missing something in 17d – wordplay seems to suggest an a where I want an o – if I have the right answer…

    I thought 16a was brilliant, and many other fine clues.

    Thanks again

    1. You are definitely missing something in 17d, but I’m going to leave you to work it out/check the BRB, otherwise my review won’t be needed, for that clue anyway.

  3. Can start off by saying ‘ditto’ to the first couple of paragraphs from Silvanus but have to add that the 4d reference was also new for me.
    I’ve obviously fallen into the same trap as Dutch over 17d – will keep working on it.
    Top three places go to 28a plus 1&15d.

    Many thanks, Prolixic, a great challenge.

  4. Aargh. I still have 5A, 8D and 20A to go. Been staring at them for far too long. No hints, please. I want to get there by myself if I can. Favorites so far are 4D, which I knew, and 20D which I also knew plus it’s such a lovely word.

  5. Very nice puzzle, thank you Prolixic.
    I too found the left hand side was first to fall, helped by some clearly signalled anagrams, and the NE corner the trickiest, last one in being 5a.
    Happy to say I was perfectly okay with the level of general knowledge necessary for 20d (did ’em in geography aged 13) 5d (ditto but history) and 4d (though far from being a film buff).
    Favourites were 1a, 10a, 14a, 25a, 4d and 6d, but the pick of the crop was, for me, 15d – beautifully done!

  6. A bit late now – a bit tired too, plus lots to eat and drink and much nattering – need to clear up. :sad:
    Haven’t really had much chance to look at Prolixic’s NTSPP but how nice to still have it to look forward to for tomorrow.
    Night night all – much cooler here this evening so much better weather to have a decent sleep, assuming our feline weekend visitors haven’t got themselves the wrong side of the door. Oh dear. :unsure:

  7. Well, I finished the grid, but I’m going to need the review for 5A and 8D..

    …never mind, I just worked them out I think.. The last few I found extra challenging but overall I did enjoy this tussle. Thanks, Prolixic. I never find you easy but always enlightening and entertaining.

  8. Many thanks for the review, CS. As you said, there was certainly some ‘education’ in there! Apart from the 20s and the famous last word already mentioned in my comment, I was also unfamiliar with oversee = disregard, oner = expert or ‘so’ as an abb. for south. SO being the code for Somalia threw me off track for quite a while.
    Thanks again, Prollixic – I’ll try to remember the lessons!

  9. Thanks. CS. I couldn’t make the connection to North America in particular in 5D until I finally checked the BRB. It would seem it simply refers to the spelling. 1D amused me no end. Ironic that the brand name for vegetarian foodstuff should have a foxhunt connection. Thanks again to Prolixic.

    We are sharing your hot weather over here. Yesterday was 36.6, with more of the same today.

  10. Thanks Prolixic & CS.

    Good enjoyable puzzle. I managed to drag the answer to 20d from my memory banks somehow. I was another at first thrown by the abbreviation for south although it is in the major dictionaries.

  11. Made heavy use of the BRB.
    Couldn’t find crafter though and still have problems with 13a for which the blog gives a wrong answer btw.
    Like ExpatChris I was left with 5a, 8d and 20a until I had to resort to the hints.
    I really enjoyed the challenge and liked 14a and 18d the most.
    Thanks to Prolixic and to CS for the review.

  12. Sorry to be late to the party – phew this one was tricky and I had about half a dozen gaps when I resorted to the reveal button. Some lovely clues in there – 4d and 25a were my favourites – many thanks Prolixic.

  13. I’m another late to the party, and I too had to reveal at the end. I actually thought this was reasonably gentle for a Prolixic until the NE corner, the rest yielded steadily and enjoyably. I do like all the anagrams, plus they are a nice entry point. Many thanks, and to CS for the review too.

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